Does depression run in your family? Do you have a fear of developing depression? Can you prevent depression? These are some of the questions surrounding the development of depression. What are the ways to lessen the chances of developing depression?
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to pleasurable activities affecting the person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings, and emotions for at least two weeks. The question of prevention with regards to depression is still debatable. Some experts believe that it can’t be prevented while others are not sure. The risk factors for depression are usually non-modifiable elements such as genetics, a chemical in your brain and environment. Depression is always preceded by a significant life event or trauma. Example of which is a health problem of your one’s self or loved ones. Since one can’t do anything about uncontrollable factors, let us focus on areas where one can manipulate to his benefit in order to strengthen his coping skills and managing stress.
Mayo Clinic recommends regular exercise for the overall health of everyone. Research shows that exercise is beneficial in the treatment of depression through three mechanisms: increase of body temperature which then fosters a calming effect of the central nervous system, the release of chemicals such as endorphins also called as the happy hormone and lastly, reduction of immune system chemical which can worsen depression.
Jenny C. Yip, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist, said “Exercise also increases blood circulation in the brain, which is linked to improvements in mood and attention. Spending as little as 20 minutes a day on exercise can actually increase your overall productivity, and decrease energy wasted from mental stress.” In general, exercise can help in managing depression. It is best to exercise in a studio or sports team and to integrate exercise into your daily routine.
Decrease social media time
Studies revealed that the use of social media could contribute to the causation of depression and low self-esteem. Social media is addicting and is considered a necessity for communication with friends and family; however unproductive surfing in the social media platforms is not helpful for individuals with or without depression. Dr. Ethan Kross, Ph.D., a social psychologist, emphasized “On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result—it undermines it.”
Turn these idle times into something useful. In order to curb the addiction to social media, try using website-blocking extensions that only allow usage for a period and make a conscious decision to go on social media with a purpose.
Build strong relationships
Studies revealed that having a reliable support system and active social life can protect against depression. Try to connect with friends and family despite the hectic lifestyle regularly. Attend social events and try new hobbies.
Simplify daily choices
Psychologist Barry Schwartz book “The Paradox of Choice,” stated research that specifies having too many opportunities could result in depression. Every day, people are bombarded with options from meal choices to outfits to wear. The pressure of choosing the right option is said to be the culprit to more chances of developing depression.
Plenty of sleep
The quality of sleep is vital to mental and physical health. The National Sleep Foundation shares that individuals with insomnia have tenfold risk of developing depression in comparison to those who sleep well.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
This therapy is a combination of cognitive therapy with mindfulness. It deconstructs the way you think and encourages a person to be mindful of what is going on in the present. The method’s goal is to help individuals with depression be aware of the negative thoughts and how to revise these. Saundra Jain, Psy.D., LPC noted that “Mindfulness meditation practices are effective interventions, and sometimes for mild to moderate conditions—depression and anxiety—super-effective as front lines.” She added, “think about mindfulness as a way to soften, dampen, or quiet that internal chatter.”